Sunday, November 26, 2006

Towards the people? No, eastwards

[Via L'espresso -- an unofficial translation from the original Italian]

by Sandro Magister

The Pope's liturgical celebration office has made available the book of the liturgies of the next trip of Benedict XVI to Turkey.

Within it there is also the Byzantine rite Mass, properly called Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, at which the Pope will attend on November 30, in the patriarchal church of St. George at Fanar, in Istanbul.

In presenting the book, the pontifical master of ceremonies Piero Marini writes among other things:

"The celebration of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, as of those of others Oriental Churches, is performed towards the East. The priest with all the faithful look towards the East from which Christ will come one day in His glory. The priest intercedes with the Lord for his people; he walks before the people towards the meeting with the Lord. There are several moments in which the priest turns towards the people: to proclaim the Gospel, in the dialog before the Anaphora, for the Communion with the Holy Gifts, and for all the blessings."

Marini could not have spoken better. It looks like we are reading a page from Fr. U. Michael Lang's book "Turning towards the Lord", concerning the issue of orientation in the celebration of the Mass.

The book caused scandal among the supporters of the congregation-Mass and of the altars turned towards the people. But it has Joseph Ratzinger's introduction, which is not bad to have as a defense attorney.

In fact even Marini seems to have joined in.

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